1974 NASCAR Winston Cup Series

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1974 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
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The 1974 NASCAR Winston Cup Series was the 26th season of professional stock car racing in the United States and the 3rd modern-era NASCAR Cup series. The season began on Sunday January 20 and ended on Sunday November 24. The first 15 races were shortened 10 percent due to the 1973 oil crisis. Following criticism of the 1972 and 1973 points systems that placed emphasis on completed miles, NASCAR implemented a new points system, that took basic purse winnings, multiplied by number of starts, and divided by 1,000; it was designed to more directly reward winning races, a response to Benny Parsons' championship the previous year with just one win. Richard Petty was Winston Cup champion at the end of the season finishing 567.45 points ahead of Cale Yarborough, while David Pearson finished a strong third in points despite only nineteen starts. Earl Ross was named NASCAR Rookie of the Year.[1]

1974 was the final season before Ricky Rudd, Bill Elliott and Dale Earnhardt joined the Winston Cup Grand National tour.


Western 500Edit

Begun on January 20, the Western 500 at Riverside International Raceway was stopped by rain and resumed on January 26. Cale Yarborough led 144 laps but was closely contested by Bobby Allison, who led 33 laps. Allison faltered and finished a distant fifth, while Cale took the win with Richard Petty second. David Pearson finished third in the final eligible race for the Wood Brothers 1971 Mercury Cyclone; the car had won 19 times with Pearson and A. J. Foyt the previous two seasons.

Daytona 500Edit

Richmond 500Edit

Bobby Allison grabbed the win, his third with his own team since the start of 1973.

Carolina 500Edit

Cale Yarborough led most of the first half but his car's handling deteriorated throughout the race and Richard Petty dominated the second half en route to the win.

Southeastern 500Edit

Amid periodic snow flurries, a crowd of 18,000 witnessed Cale Yarborough win for the second straight spring Bristol race. Richard Petty was hit in the driver side door in a four-car crash.

Atlanta 500Edit

NASCAR mandated smaller carburators for big-block engines. David Pearson led the most laps in a small block but had to pit late for fuel, giving Cale Yarborough the win.

Rebel 450Edit

Darlington's spring race shaved 10 percent off its race distance as other races did, but did not lop off the opening 36 laps, it simply scheduled the race as a 450-miler. David Pearson took his third straight Rebel race win (and fifth in all). The race was stopped for half an hour when Lennie Pond smashed a guardrail and several posts were pushed off. Cale Yarborough took the point lead.

Gwyn Staley MemorialEdit

Richard Petty debuted a hand-built (by his brother, the team's chief engine builder Maurice) small-block Chrysler engine and won going away. The win put him back into the point lead. Petty stated the small block cost $50,000; “so we’re still in the red right now.”

Virginia 500Edit

Cale Yarborough lead almost wire to wire and the win gave him back the point lead. Richard Petty finished second despite multiple pitstops.

Winston 500Edit

The lead changed 52 times among 14 drivers as David Pearson edged Benny Parsons. During pitstops at Lap 105 crewman Don Miller lost a leg when he was hit by the spinning car of rookie Grant Adcox.

Music City 420Edit

Rain pushed the second half of the race from Saturday night to Sunday afternoon. Richard Petty took his fourth win of the season and retook the point lead over Yarborough. It was Neil Bonnett's first Winston Cup start.

Mason-Dixon 500Edit

Petty, Pearson, and Yarborough were the only leaders in a race interrupted only three times for yellows. Petty, running the small-block Chrysler engine, led 210 laps but fell out with engine failure while leading with three laps to go. Cale took the win having led 220 laps, while Pearson was second with only 20 laps led.

World 600Edit

David Pearson edged Richard Petty as the lead changed 37 times, the most for the race to that point of its history. Buddy Baker left Harry Hyde's Dodge team to drive Bud Moore's Ford after Moore released driver George Follmer. Baker led 94 laps before falling out with engine failure; he was signed to drive the rest of the season in Moore's Ford.

Tuborg 400Edit

George Follmer was fired from Bud Moore's team before the 600 and jumped into Roger Penske's AMC Matador; he won the pole but blew his engine after just seven laps. Cale Yarborough edged Bobby Allison for the win, his sixth of the season.

Motor State 400Edit

This was the last race of the season shortened by NASCAR due to the energy crunch. The lead changed 50 times among eight drivers, a new record for the track to that point. Petty edged rookie Earl Ross after Pearson pitted under a late yellow for tires and the green never flew again.

Firecracker 400Edit

David Pearson, the winner of the previous two 400s, pulled an audacious fake as he slammed his brakes to put Petty into the lead on the final lap, then drafted past at the stripe; Pearson's maneuver was such that an angered Petty confronted Pearson in the pressbox after the race; the ensuing dialogue was transcribed by The Charlotte Observer and published the next day (July 5, 1974, edition). Some seven seconds behind them Cale Yarborough and Buddy Baker hit the stripe nose to nose for an official tie for third. Bobby Allison took over Roger Penske's Matador; he led 50 laps but broke an intake valve late in the race and finished fifth. The lead changed 45 times, a race record that stood until 2010. [2]

Volunteer 500Edit

Junior Johnson had purchased his race team from Richard Howard when Carling Breweries joined the #52 of Earl Ross along with Cale Yarborough's #11. In the second race as owner of the team Junior saw Cale dominate but Buddy Baker surged to the lead late. A caution set up a two lap sprint and Cale sideslammed Baker on the final lap for the win. The race saw Neil Bonnett strike the inside pit guardrail, tearing up numerous support posts and requiring a 40-lap caution for repairs.

Nashville 420Edit

Controversy marred Nashville's mid-summer event. Following Richard Petty's crash a scoring controversy ensued involving Cale Yarborough and Charlie Glotzbach; Glotzbach was placed a lap down based on scoring, but Cale stayed on the lead lap. Allison finished just behind Yarborough and drove into victory lane ahead of Yarborough, insisting Cale was a lap down. NASCAR later said a scoring mistake had been made but that the Yarborough win would stand.

Purolator 500Edit

Originally published in NASCAR's schedule, the annual 300-miler at Trenton Speedway was cancelled and replaced by Pocono's Purolator 500. Richard Petty won the race as rain shortened the race by eight laps. Buddy Baker won the pole; he'd also won the pole in late April in Pocono's USAC stock car 500-miler. It was the inaugural race for NASCAR at Pocono, which has become part of the annual schedule since then.

Talladega 500Edit

25 of the event's 50 entries were found sabotaged in the garage area on race morning. NASCAR instituted several competition cautions to allow teams to find previously-undetected sabotage. Buddy Baker fell out after leading 98 laps with rearend failure with three laps to go. Petty sideswiped past Pearson at the stripe ("Pearson tried to cut me off," Petty said; "I'd rather rub fenders with Richard than compete clean with some of the other cats, who are crazy at times," Pearson added); it was Petty's third straight win. Three days before the race A. J. Foyt brought his Coyote Indycar for a speed test; he hit 217 MPH, a closed-course record for the time.

Yankee 400Edit

Pearson won for the first time since Daytona in July, beating Petty by some five seconds. The lead changed 45 times as Cale Yarborough led 60 laps but lost contact with the leaders after a late tire change backfired with mismatched tires.

Southern 500Edit

Cale Yarborough took his third win in the race after melees eliminated half the field; Richard Petty, Bobby Allison and Buddy Baker were notable crash victims, and rookie Richie Panch was singled out for criticism after being involved in three wrecks. Sophomore Darrell Waltrip took second. NASCAR's 1974 point system, which took purse winnings multiplied by number of starts divided by 1,000, came under fire when Petty wrecked early yet outpointed every car that finished ahead of him except race-winner Yarborough.

Capital City 500Edit

Cale Yarborough led 98 of the first 120 laps but the pavement was grinding up and Cale slipped in loose asphalt and crashed. The wreck put Richard Petty into the lead for the remaining 380 laps. Bobby Allison, originally entered in the race, did not race.

Delaware 500Edit

Petty led 491 laps and put the entire field three laps down while Yarborough fell out with engine failure.

Wilkes 400Edit

Petty and Yarborough swept the front row and led 391 laps. Cale led for 275 laps. Petty lost a lap on late pitstops but unlapped himself; he had to settle for second when a late yellow ended the race under caution.

Old Dominion 500Edit

Earl Ross pulled off the upset win, the first for a rookie since 1965 and first for a Canadian driver ever. The win came after teammate Cale Yarborough crashed.

National 500Edit

David Pearson made up a lap lost in the first 100 laps of the race and edged Richard Petty, who erased a two-lap deficit despite a pit fire three-quarters into the race; it was the fifth time in the season Pearson and Petty finished together in the top two and Pearson's fourth win in that rivalry. The race was chaotic as a ten-car melee erupted on the third lap and a vicious two-car crash in Turn Four eliminated Grant Adcox and Ramo Stott. The lead changed 47 times, a race record that was tied in 2000, and a track record that lasted until the 1979 World 600, among 11 drivers; it was the sixth race of the season to break 40 official lead changes.

American 500Edit

Pearson grabbed his seventh win of 1974, edging Cale by two seconds. The surface at North Carolina Motor Speedway proved hard on tires and pitstops became frequent. Buddy Baker led twelve laps but fell out after only eighteen laps with brake failure.

Los Angeles Times 500Edit

Originally left off of NASCAR's schedule, the race was added late in the season. Richard Petty led the most laps but fell out late and finished 15th. Bobby Allison took the win in Roger Penske's AMC Matador but was fined $9,100 for unapproved valve lifters in postrace inspection. The race lead changed 38 times officially (a track record for stock cars) while several laps saw up to four lead changes in one circuit.

Season recapEdit

Date Event Circuit Winner
January 20 & 26 Winston Western 500 Riverside International Raceway Cale Yarborough
February 17 Daytona 500 Daytona International Speedway Richard Petty
February 24 Richmond 500 Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway Bobby Allison
March 4 Carolina 500 North Carolina Speedway Richard Petty
March 17 Southeastern 500 Bristol International Speedway Cale Yarborough
March 24 Atlanta 500 Atlanta International Raceway Cale Yarborough
April 7 Rebel 500 Darlington Raceway David Pearson
April 21 Gwyn Staley 400 North Wilkesboro Speedway Richard Petty
April 28 Virginia 500 Martinsville Speedway Cale Yarborough
May 5 Winston 500 Alabama International Motor Speedway David Pearson
May 11 & 12 Music City USA 420 Nashville Speedway Richard Petty
May 19 Mason-Dixon 500 Dover Downs International Speedway Cale Yarborough
May 26 World 600 Charlotte Motor Speedway David Pearson
June 9 Tuborg 400 Riverside International Raceway Cale Yarborough
June 16 Motor State 400 Michigan International Speedway Richard Petty
July 4 Firecracker 400 Daytona International Speedway David Pearson
July 14 Volunteer 500 Bristol International Speedway Cale Yarborough
July 20 Nashville 420 Nashville Speedway Cale Yarborough
July 28 Dixie 500 Atlanta International Raceway Richard Petty
August 4 Purolator 500 Pocono Raceway Richard Petty
August 11 Talladega 500 Alabama International Motor Speedway Richard Petty
August 25 Champion Spark Plug 400 Michigan International Speedway David Pearson
September 2 Southern 500 Darlington Raceway Cale Yarborough
September 8 Capital City 500 Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway Richard Petty
September 15 Delaware 500 Dover Downs International Speedway Richard Petty
September 22 Wilkes 400 North Wilkesboro Speedway Cale Yarborough
September 29 Old Dominion 500 Martinsville Speedway Earl Ross
October 6 National 500 Charlotte Motor Speedway David Pearson
October 20 American 500 North Carolina Speedway David Pearson
November 24 Los Angeles Times 500 Ontario Motor Speedway Bobby Allison

Final Points standingsEdit

Place Driver Points Earnings Wins
1st Richard Petty 5037.750 $432,019 10
2nd Cale Yarborough 4470.300 $363,781 10
3rd David Pearson 2389.250 $252,819 7
4th Bobby Allison 2019.195 $178,437 2
5th Benny Parsons 1591.500 $185,080 0
6th Dave Marcis 1378.200 $83,376 0
7th Buddy Baker 1016.880 $151,025 0
8th Earl Ross 1009.470 $81,199 1
9th Cecil Gordon 1000.650 $66,165 0
10th David Sisco 956.200 $58,312 0
11th James Hylton 924.955 $61,384 0
12th J. D. McDuffie 920.850 $59,534 0
13th Frank Warren 820.845 $55,779 0
14th Richie Panch 775.440 $52,712 0
15th Walter Ballard 748.440 $54,038 0
16th Richard Childress 735.440 $50,248 0
17th Donnie Allison 728.805 $60,314 0
18th Lennie Pond 723.250 $55,989 0
19th Darrell Waltrip 609.975 $67,774 0
20th Tony Bettenhausen Jr. 601.695 $38,994 0
21st Jackie Rogers 587.880 $32,367 0
22nd Coo Coo Marlin 581.670 $41,944 0
23rd Ed Negre 534.300 $24,622 0
24th Bob Burcham 445.500 $27,923 0
25th Elmo Langley 433.780 $24,722 0
26th Charlie Glotzbach 293.090 $34,172
27th Dick Brooks 267.520 $22,760 0
28th Joe Frasson 240.800 $22,629 0
29th George Follmer 230.490 $53,780 0
30th Buddy Arrington 221.200 $22,085 0
31st Bill Champion 207.720 $13,480 0
32nd D.K. Ulrich 155.325 $11,955 0
33rd Bobby Isaac 152.950 $22,642 0
34th Travis Tiller 146.440 $11,410 0
35th Roy Mayne 141.720 $15,284 0
36th Dean Dalton 125.440 $12,485 0
37th Neil Castles 123.565 $12,479 0
38th G.C. Spencer 96.800 $12,985 0
39th Ramo Stott 82.950 $23,705 0
40th Jim Vandiver 71.400 $15,909 0
41st Dan Daughtry 63.040 $12,413 0
42nd Jabe Thomas 49.140 $7,835 0
43rd Gary Bettenhausen 49.000 $12,750 0
44th A. J. Foyt 41.220 $17,110 0
45th Jerry Schild 35.375 $8,395 0
46th Earle Canavan 34.920 $6,570 0
47th Dick Trickle 24.780 $10,828 0
48th Marty Robbins 23.780 $5,734 0
49th Alton Jones 20.400 $4,395 0
50th Hershel McGriff 23.340 $8,585 0


External linksEdit